News

Euroa blaze under control, heroic firefighters celebrated

By Shepparton News

Update 6pm:

Firefighters have been celebrated in their efforts to contain a bushfire in Euroa, which burnt about 350 ha and threatened the township.

Almost 50 firetrucks tackled the blaze that temporarily closed the Hume Fwy but never crossed it.

The fire started Saturday morning and by the afternoon was upgraded to an emergency as people were told to leave before conditions worsened.

But CFA incident controller Tim Holland said the quick actions of the CFA meant there were no losses of structures, assets or animals.

"The fact it was kept to 350 ha is a fantastic outcome," he said.

“Among all the destruction in other parts of the state, our firefighters should be really proud to keep it to the size it was."

Mr Holland said the fire stayed east of the Hume Fwy and at its peak, there were up to six aircrafts in the sky.

“That was particularly when those 40-70km southerly winds came in; it was a great job by the CFA crews on site,” he said.

“The cause is still to be determined and is being investigated.”

Mr Holland said the CFA slowed the fire, which was mainly situated at Balmattum Hill, by using aircrafts, flooding terrain and taking advantage of the conditions.

“Naturally given in other parts of the state, this fire with the winds and temperature had the community nervous,” he said.

“It’s a known hill and we knew people were going to be alert to (and) anxious about it, given its close proximity to the township.”

Mr Holland also encouraged motorists to drive safely when passing fires.

“For anyone travelling on the roads where they can see fires, be focussed on driving safe – that’s so important,” Mr Holland said.

“There was a car accident on the Hume Fwy on Saturday, in close proximity to the fires, so we can’t stress how important it is,” he said.

Euroa's Tara Whitsed said the level of emergency service personnel both on the ground and in the air was “truly incredible” to witness.

“Emergency services worked all day to contain the fire and did a fantastic job at preventing the blaze from spreading into the Euroa township,” she said.

“It almost seems inconceivable that a fire was threatening the very place I am housing my family from the Upper Murray fires which continue to rage through that community.

“My family felt safe throughout the entire Euroa fire, however, due to the incredible amount of emergency services fighting the blaze which was brought under control before the cool change that brought significant winds with it.

“Balmattum Hill looked incredible at nightfall, lit up like a Christmas tree.”

Mr Holland reminded people to be fire ready.

“Have a fire plan and know what fire districts you’re moving into when you’re going on a holiday,” he said.

Update 9.30pm, January 4:

After burning 315ha the Euroa bushfire at Strathbogie-Euroa Rd is now under control.

Fire behaviour is expected to decrease overnight with the drop in temperature but firefighters will remain active overnight.

The bushfire travelled from Balmattum Hill in a northerly direction towards Cusack Rd.

The Hume Freeway southbound will remain closed overnight, with traffic detours through Euroa, pending a hazard assessment Sunday morning.

Driver are asked to follow all road closure advice and signage.

Update 5.05pm:

Firefighters have been able to slow the spread of the bushfire at Euroa for now but stress the situation could change at any time.

Authorities have encouraged people to monitor conditions and be prepared to act.

The bushfire is travelling from Balmattum Hill in a north-easterly direction towards Cusack Road. 

Firefighters and water bombing helicopters are on scene and it is expected that ground crews will be active overnight.

The Hume Freeway northbound has been reopened.

A Traffic Management Point remains on the Hume Freeway diverting Southbound traffic from the Freeway.

Drivers are asked to follow all Victoria Police directives and local signage in regard to Traffic Management Points and diversions.  

Update 3.13pm:

The Hume Freeway Euroa bypass is closed in both directions due to increased fire activity in the area. Motorists

Southbound traffic will be diverted at Violet Town, via Murchison Violet Town Road.

Northbound traffic will be diverted at the Goulburn Valley Freeway interchange at Seymour.

It’s important to follow the directions of emergency services at all times as conditions can change quickly.

Significant fire activity in this area means there is potential for further road closures.

Driving during a bushfire is extremely dangerous and leaving early is the best way to avoid this situation. Motorists should follow the advice of any current warnings for affected areas.

Smoke from nearby fires has the potential to reduce visibility and poses a hazard, especially at night and in low-lying areas.

We suggest motorists use their headlights on low-beam to make sure they can see and be seen, even during the day.

Windows should be closed and air-conditioning set to recirculation to reduce the smell of smoke inside the car.

Drivers should increase the space between themselves and the vehicle in front to allow safe braking distance.

If visibility deteriorates and it becomes unsafe to continue driving, motorists should pull over. The use of hazard lights and parking off the roadway will help avoid collisions, which are common during bushfires.

Real-time traffic conditions are available at traffic.vicroads.vic.gov.au or via the VicTraffic mobile app.

For updates on bushfires go to emergency.vic.gov.au

Update 1.37pm:

A bushfire is out of control in Euroa and an emergency warning has been issued for the region.

"The eastern side of the Euroa township close to the freeway could be impacted anytime within the next one to two hours. Leaving now is the safest option, before conditions become too dangerous," the Country Fire Authority said in its warning.

The fire is at Strathbogie-Euroa Rd and the warning was issued at 1.34pm for Balmattum, Euroa, Kelvin View, Kithbrook, Marraweeney, Riggs Creek, Sheans Creek.

Emergency services are responding to a bushfire in Euroa.

It is travelling from Balmattum Hill in a northerly direction towards Hume Freeway at Euroa and towards the Euroa Service Centre.

What you should do: 

Travel to: 

  • You should leave using Shepparton-Euroa Road and head towards Shepparton.
  • The home of family or friends that is away from the warning area.
  • When you leave remember to take your pets, mobile phone and medications.

In the car: 

  • If you are travelling, do not enter the area. U-turn to safety.
  • Slow down and turn on your headlights. Smoke will make it difficult to see.

If you are unable to leave you should shelter indoors:

  • Close all exterior doors, windows and vents. Turn off cooling systems.
  • You must take shelter before the fire arrives. The extreme heat is likely to kill you well before the flames reach you.
  • Shelter in a room that has two exits, such as a door or window including one directly to the outside. It is important to be able to see outside so you know what is happening with the fire. 
  • If your home catches on fire and the conditions inside become unbearable, you need to get out and go to an area that has already been burnt. 

If you cannot get indoors, other last resort options include:

  • Shelter in the middle of a large open area like a ploughed paddock, football oval or sporting reserve.
  • Get into a large body of water like a dam, lake, river, the ocean or inground pool.
  • Try to protect yourself from the fire's heat.

If you are caught in fire in your car:

  • Park behind a solid structure to block the fire's heat or pull over to cleared area.
  • Try to position the car towards the approaching fire.
  • Turn on your hazard lights and headlights.
  • Close all windows.
  • Turn off the air-conditioning and shut all the air vents.
  • Turn your car engine off.
  • Get down as low as possible below window level and cover up with a pure woollen blanket.

Impacts in your area: 

  • The following roads are closed:
  • Hume Freeway at the Northern and Southern ends of Euroa
  • Euroa-Strathbogie road 
  • Euroa-Strathbogie road and Shean's Creek road intersection
  • Faithfull's Creek road and Shean's Creek road intersection
  • Faithfulls Creek road at the Euroa Cemetary
  • Euroa Service Centre is also closed.

The next update is expected by 4.40 pm or as the situation changes.

Emergency services are responding to a bushfire at Euroa.

Update 12.45pm:

More vehicles and aircraft are responding to the bushfire at Euroa.

VicEmergency has issued a watch and act message for Sheans Creek for the bushfire, which is on Strathbogie-Euroa Rd, Euroa and is not yet under control.

The fire is also impacting the Balmattum Bush Reserve on the western side of the Balmattum Hill and currently heading to near the top of Balmattum Hill.

There are 20 vehicles responding and the Country Fire Authority warning said conditions could change and "get worse very quickly".

"Emergency services may not be able to help you if you decide to stay," the warning said.

"You need to closely monitor the conditions at your location."

Smoke will be visible from nearby communities and roads and along the Hume Freeway around Euroa.

What you should do: 

  • Monitor changes to the situation. Increased wind speed, change in wind direction, smoke or poor visibility can indicate the situation is changing.
  • If you are away from home, do not return.

If the situation changes or you feel unsafe you should leave:

  • Take your pets, medications, mobile phone and charger.
  • Travel to the home of family or friends that are away from the warning area.

Emergency Services may not be able to help you if you decide to stay.

Impacts in your area: 

  • Check the VicTraffic website (traffic.vicroads.vic.gov.au/) or call 13 11 70 for road closures.
  • Avoid the Euroa-Strathbogie road between Euroa and Shean's Creek.

The next update is expected by 3.40pm or as the situation changes.

Update 11.08am:

Nine vehicles are responding to the fire on Strathbogie-Euora Rd.

The fire is still not under control, however, still being reported as small.

Earlier:

There are two small bushfires in Euroa that are not yet under control.

VicEmergency issued an advice message for one of the fires on Sheans Creek, saying there was no threat to communities but people should stay informed and monitor conditions.

At the last update that fire was categorised as "small" and not yet under control with seven vehicles responding.

The other fire, 2km east of Euroa, had five vehicles responding at 9.50am and 1ha had been burnt.

Use multiple sources to stay informed: 

www.emergency.vic.gov.au.

VicEmergency Hotline - freecall 1800 226 226.

VicEmergency app.

Facebook or Twitter (#vicfires).